A few weeks ago my husband and I were over in the Moore County area for a doctor’s appointment. After making a few stops along the way, we were in the Pinebluff area when we spotted a yard sale. We just love to visit yard sales (although we don’t need a thing). My husband bought a few items and then asked the seller if he had any guns he wanted to sell. The man said that he didn’t have any for sale himself, but he had a friend who did. That’s all it took for us to get on the road to find the home of his friend, “Wild Willie.”
After a phone call to find out how to get to “Wild Willie’s” house, we were on the road again. When we arrived at his house, I went inside and visited with his wife while the guys went outside to try out guns.
Mrs. “Wild Willie” was a very interesting lady who seemed to like staying busy; even though she is almost 80. She had so many hobbies going on that it almost made me dizzy to hear about all of them. She showed me how she made pot and vegetable scrubbers, all the sewing she had started on, all the prints she and “Wild Willie” had made frames for and put on the walls, and on and on and on. Finally, we went into the kitchen and she showed me some cookies she had baked. Of course, I had to have a sample — and I have to tell you, those were, by far, the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted. I should have gotten the recipe right then but before I could say, “Jiminy Cricket,” we were off again for her to show me something else.
This time we went outside and hopped onto their golf cart and she drove me all around the outside so she could show me everything of interest there. She told me she even does their yard herself; so we looked at the lawn mower and her tractor and all of the trees and bushes she had planted in the yard. She even showed me her husband’s workshop so I could see how she had organized everything for him. When we were inside the workshop she pointed up to where she had hung the fenders off of their motorcycles. His had “Wild Willie” painted on it and hers had “Willie’s Woman.”
Then, before I could even look away, she pulled her shirt down and showed me the tattoo on her chest which read “Willie’s Woman.” I have to be honest, that is one sight I wish I hadn’t seen. I just nodded and didn’t say a word. (To be honest, I think I was in tattoo shock!)
She said, “I still have my motorcycle, but Willie doesn’t have one anymore.” So, of course, she had to show me her motorcycle. It was a red Honda that was actually a motor scooter not a motorcycle. She showed me all her storage compartments where she put her groceries when she went to Food Lion. It also had a side car so “Wild Willie” could ride along if he wanted to.
Later, we all ended up back in the house where we got a bag of cookies to go. Those folks were so nice, it felt like we were leaving friends behind as we pulled out of the driveway. As my husband and I drove away, we talked about how good those cookies were and how I meant to get the recipe but forgot to ask.
My husband said that “Wild Willie” was quite the character. He had asked him why he was selling his “stuff” and his answer was: “I’m having a pre-death sale.” We had never thought about that before but both decided that’s probably a good way to make sure your family can pay for your funeral after you die.
You know, it’s true that you can’t judge a book by its cover. If I had let that tattoo influence how I felt about our visit with that couple, I would have missed out on the chance to get to know two truly remarkable older people who just march to the beat of a different drum.
A couple days later, when I talked with our daughter, I told her about our visit with “Wild Willie” and his woman. When I told her about Willie’s pre-death sale, she thought that was a great idea and one her dad and I should consider doing ourselves. Since she’s an only child, she knows she’s gonna have a tough time getting rid of all of our “stuff.” I said: “Yeah, I know we need to start getting rid of some things. By the way, we’ll be at an estate sale in Hamlet on Saturday if you need to get up with us. We don’t want to miss out on any deals.”
By the way, if you happen to go up to Moore County, watch out for that red Honda motor scooter with the sidecar. Just be careful and don’t get in the way or you might accidently get sideswiped by that 80-year-old on her way to Food Lion to buy the ingredients for those fabulous chocolate chip cookies!
Azalea R. Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, member of the Story Spinners of Laurinburg, and member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies.